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Learn How to Avoid Copy Machine Scams

To many businesses, an office copier may seem like nothing more than a standard piece of office machinery. And while that may be true, the Business of Consumer Protection confirms that digital copier technologies have advanced greatly and are now classified as "smart" machines with capabilities of printing, scanning, faxing, copying, and emailing.

As a result, the hard drive in a standard digital copier will store data from all documents that it encounters. If this data isn't protected strategically, it could be easily stolen from a copier's hard drive, either remotely or directly.

Important security precautions to take when leasing a copy machine

Now that we've established the importance of copy machine security, it brings a whole new twist to the act of copier leasing. Today, up to 85% of businesses lease office copiers and multifunctional printers. At the end of a lease agreement, this equipment is automatically returned to a vendor.

As part of the leasing process, used machinery will be leased to another business or liquidated and sold overseas. Unless necessary security precautions have been taken and a hard drive has been removed or overwritten, sensitive business and customer information could be leaked to the next photocopier user - even in another country.

In any lease agreement, it's critical to review security terms and conditions before returning office equipment. At the very least, a leasing vendor should indicate that leased equipment hard drives will be scrubbed or destroyed. A business may be given the option to retain ownership of the hard drive after a lease term ends so that they can dispose of or destroy the sensitive data themselves.

The Bureau of Consumer Protection goes on to explain that it is a business's legal responsibility to protect sensitive information, even in office machinery. If a business encounters secure consumer data, including Social Security numbers, credit card information, or background checks, they must abide by the FTC Disposal Rule to properly dispose of all private information stored in a digital copier, in the same manner of paper disposal.

Protect your business from copy machine scams

A breach in security is a serious threat to your business and could even result in legal action taken against you if customer data isn't protected properly. Unfortunately, copy machine scams run rampant when it comes to the unethical treatment of equipment in a leasing agreement.

A leased or purchased office copier should be treated as a sensitive piece of office machinery and controlled by a company's IT department. When it's time to trade in or sell an older model, standard security precautions should be taken, similar to any other computer hard drive, to protect customer and employee information.

If your company has entered into a copier lease agreement, upgrading or terminating a contract should focus heavily on copier security. Before a leased copier is turned over to the next customer, the hard drive should be removed or overwritten; some vendors may charge an additional fee for these services.

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